Mayor Cantrell joins NOLABA, Partners to announce $5M Philanthropic Investment from JPMorgan Chase through AdvancingCities Challenge

November 12, 2020. Through a major philanthropic investment from JPMorgan Chase, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), and YouthForce NOLA are proud to announce a $5 million commitment to help ensure the resiliency and success of New Orleans neighborhoods and those who call them home.

As one of seven winning cities selected by JPMorgan Chase for its AdvancingCities Challenge, New Orleans is making a historic investment into blue-green infrastructure, providing pathways to new career opportunities for residents and contract opportunities for local small businesses in the water economy.

“As we look forward to the future of our city, it is imperative that we are intentional and innovative about our approach to complex challenges, and how that approach affects all of our people. This program is a testament to that forward-thinking approach, and I am excited at the opportunities it will bring to our city and for our people,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We are thankful to JPMorgan Chase for this investment in our work to create a more resilient and equitable future for New Orleans.”

“This collaborative effort to assist small businesses and build a more inclusive workforce pipeline is just the sort of innovative approach Louisiana needs to create a brighter future for all,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “By combining the resources, vision and commitment of our public and private sectors, this partnership opens new doors to participate in our vibrant and growing blue/green economy. My thanks to JPMorgan Chase for providing the $5 million investment in New Orleans and $10 million statewide — for our most deserving winners of the AdvancingCities Challenge.”

“This is an opportunity to build a new and more equitable economy in Louisiana — a blue-green industry that employs and benefits all New Orleanians,” said Katie LeGardeur, Managing Director and Market Leader for JPMorgan Chase in New Orleans. “This effort will tackle very complex challenges — urban water management and income inequality. To deal with these difficult issues, New Orleans is proposing smart, innovative solutions. And that’s why this collaborative is a winner of the AdvancingCities Challenge, a competitive process that fielded 150 proposals from 35 states.”

With a total of seven winning U.S. cities, New Orleans is the second Louisiana city selected for the 2020 AdvancingCities Challenge. JPMorgan Chase also awarded $5 million to a Baton Rouge collaborative, bringing the total AdvancingCities investment in the state to $10 million.

“Creating equitable economic opportunity for the people of New Orleans is singularly important to the New Orleans Business Alliance,” said NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer, Jr. “As a community, we daily face the challenges of aging infrastructure, environmental change, and historic inequity. This first-of-its kind strategy will allow us to transform these challenges into opportunities for our city, its businesses, and its residents. We are deeply grateful to JPMorgan Chase and the full collaboration of partners joining us to make this investment in our long-term resilience.”

“Our city’s young people are essential to the success of growing a regional blue-green infrastructure and economy,” said Cate Swinburn, President of YouthForce NOLA. “As our future leaders and workforce, it is wise that we provide them with the skills and experiences they need to thrive in these high-wage career pathways. It will help grow the economy and advance equitable outcomes across New Orleans. JPMorgan Chase has been a longtime and continued advocate for New Orleans: for our economy, environment, and most importantly, our people. I am grateful for their partnership and thrilled at this next phase of commitment.”

In the face of climate change and economic downturn due to COVID-19, this support from JPMorgan Chase will allow more city residents and businesses to contribute to the city’s long-term economic recovery. By focusing on communities of color, the announcement also builds on JPMorgan Chase’s new $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity, addressing key drivers of the racial wealth divide and providing economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities.

Through the support of AdvancingCities in New Orleans, NOLABA, YouthForce NOLA, and a collaborative of agencies, nonprofits, and higher education institutions will develop programs and strategies to invest in the burgeoning blue-green infrastructure industry.

Blue-green infrastructure is an industry approach to urban flood resilience, including construction that leverages water elements, like canals, wetlands, and water management features like permeable concrete, paired with plant elements, like parks, trees, and native plants. Immediate opportunities are available in this industry, as the City is in the process of making multi-billion dollar investments in infrastructure projects across Orleans Parish, including the $141M HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) grant for the Gentilly Resilience District (GRD), a $2B FEMA settlement for joint road and drainage infrastructure improvements from Hurricane Katrina, and a $500M local bond for infrastructure. This also builds on the $18B from the BP Oil Spill settlement that the state is utilizing to jumpstart its 50-year, $50B Coastal Master Plan.

The grant program will include robust workforce training that prepares high school youth, opportunity youth, and adults who are people of color and people with low-incomes for high-wage jobs in the city’s growing water management sector. It will also include support for small businesses, with a goal of enabling local firms, particularly those owned by people of color, to benefit from procurement opportunities in the water management sector and beyond.

Agencies engaged in the collaborative include:

  • New Orleans Business Alliance
  • City of New Orleans
  • YouthForce NOLA
  • University of New Orleans
  • Delgado Community College
  • Good Work Network
  • Propeller
  • NewCorp, Inc.
  • Thrive New Orleans
  • Urban League of Louisiana
  • The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans

About AdvancingCities
AdvancingCities is a $500 million initiative that combines the firm’s lending capital, philanthropy and expertise to invest in cities. Proposals were required to focus on the strategic drivers of inclusive growth: jobs and skills, small business, neighborhood development and financial health. The 2020 AdvancingCities Challenge emphasizes the importance of collaboration, strong leadership, and bold and innovative approaches to help ensure that access to capital and opportunity is more widely shared by diverse communities.

About New Orleans Business Alliance
One of fewer than 80 Accredited Economic Development Organizations worldwide, the New Orleans Business Alliance is the official public-private partnership created to increase economic gains for the city of New Orleans. Through a direct partnership with the City of New Orleans and strong connectivity with the business community, the New Orleans Business Alliance works to ensure the economic security of all New Orleanians by diversifying the local economy, developing local talent, and expanding entrepreneurial opportunity. Through an inclusive economic development strategy, we will create a more equitable and prosperous future for all. Learn more at

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.2 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at

About YouthForce NOLA
YouthForce NOLA is an education, business, and civic collaborative that prepares New Orleans public school students for successful pursuit of high-wage, high-demand career pathways and facilitates systems change to ensure sustained success and equitable outcomes. Learn more at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.